The Jets' wide receivers acknowledge a perception outside the team that their position needs to add a big-name receiver either in trade or off the street.
They just politely don't agree with that perception.
"We feel like we have the receivers in our group," Wallace Wright said in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room after this morning's fifth and final practice of the full-squad minicamp had concluded. "Before Plaxico Burress was Plaxico Burress, he had to get the opportunity to become Plaxico Burress. Before Laveranues Coles was Laveranues, he had to get the opportunity. He started off with special teams and didn't play right away.
"That's natural for the public to say 'The Jets need a receiver, Laveranues is gone, who's going to replace him?' It's natural for them to say that. They haven't seen us play."
Wright is our lead quotation here because No. 15, the Jets' fourth-year man who's a top special teamer but has only six career receptions, capped off his strong off-season today with a big practice.
The highlights were a pair of sandwich receptions. The first catch, early on in position drills, came on a deep post throw from Kellen Clemens, batted by corner Marquice Cole, enabling WW to pluck the ball out of the air for the "touchdown."
Then toward the end of practice, rookie Mark Sanchez was running the offense. He hit WR David Clowney with three straight completions before loading up for a 17-yard fade for Wright, who came down with the ball in the end zone for another score.
"I came in as a tryout guy," Wright recalled of his 2006 Green & White beginnings. "You just work hard, do it the right way, run good routes, catch the ball — do your job, basically — and everything will take care of itself."
Head coach Rex Ryan has noticed the way Wright has been doing his job.
"I thought Wallace had a heck of a camp," Ryan said at his news conference today. "That's Bart Scott's favorite guy. When in doubt, throw it to Wallace. As an offensive coordinator if you're playing Madden, you start with Wallace Wright and you'll be OK with Bart. We all know Wallace is a great special teams player, but he's made some strides, I think, as a receiver. That's encouraging."
Ryan was asked specifically about Burress, the former Giants Super Bowl star, he replied, "Am I saying we're going to pick up that particular player? I'm not going to tell you that." With general manager Mike Tannenbaum's mantra, "Every rock, every day," the addition of a wideout isn't out of the question, but neither is it inevitable.
Another player from the other side of the ball joined Wright in saying that's not necessary.
"People can probably sit there and say, 'Ah, they're really not that experienced,' " said cornerback Darrelle Revis. "But these guys have been here for a while, been in Coach Schottenheimer's offense for a number of years. I know they're confident, and we're going to trust in these guys that we have."
Additionally, the group, led by Jerricho Cotchery and including Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith, David Clowney and Wright, is improving all the time. There are a few reasons for that. One is their new position coach, Henry Ellard, whose totals as a 16-year NFL receiver include 814 receptions, 13,777 yards and 65 touchdowns.
"Fantastic coach," Ryan evaluated Ellard. "Henry is maybe recognized as one of the best route runners in the history of the game. The expertise he's given our guys is tremendous. There are very few coaches in the league that can make that kind of difference."
"It's an incredible wealth of knowledge," Cotchery said. "He played the game well for a long time, then he came back and coached at an extremely high level. He had guys like Isaac [Bruce] and Torry [Holt]. He had those guys rolling for some years."
Another factor is the competition for the wideouts from the Jets' brawny secondary.
"I feel I've gotten a lot better this off-season," Cotchery said. "Just being able to go against guys like Lito [Sheppard] and Darrelle [Revis] every day, I've gotten a lot better."
"Jerricho has proven himself to be one of the better receivers in this league," Revis said. "He's a challenge to me every time I go up against him."
Now the Jets wideouts will scatter for six weeks. Some will travel, some will play golf, some will conduct their clinics, some will just chill with friends and family. When they reconvene in Cortland, N.Y., for training camp, there could be an addition to their fraternity or there could be not.
Wright knows how the football business goes. But if anyone asks him, his advice is typically no-nonsense and to the point.
"We're confident with what we have in our room," he said. "We don't need anybody."